FSIN sports director fired for comments at hockey tournament, alleged workplace harassment

·3 min read
Former FSIN director of sports Corey O'Soup has been relieved of his position following a pair of comments said while introducing a championship team during a trophy and banner presentation at a youth hockey tournament and a new report of workplace harassment.  (CBC News - image credit)
Former FSIN director of sports Corey O'Soup has been relieved of his position following a pair of comments said while introducing a championship team during a trophy and banner presentation at a youth hockey tournament and a new report of workplace harassment. (CBC News - image credit)

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) announced its former sports director has been fired over a pair of comments made while introducing the championship team at a youth hockey tournament and an allegation of "inappropriate" workplace harassment.

In a statement Monday, Beardy's & Okemasis' Cree Nation said Corey O'Soup, the former FSIN director of sports, said the Beardy's "Beerhawks" twice in reference to the Under 9 Beardy's Blackhawks. The comments were made during a trophy and banner presentation after a championship game at the youth FSIN Hockey Championships on April 10.

Beardy's called the comments "disrespectful and upsetting to all who overheard what was said, and demonstrated a complete lack of professionalism, poor judgment and improper sportsmanship on part of the organizer."

It requested an apology, which was posted as a video later that day to the FSIN's Facebook page.

O'Soup apologized for his "hurtful introduction" of the Under 9 champion Blackhawks team and said he was "sincerely sorry" for misnaming the team twice during the presentation.

"This was not intentional, nor a joke," he said.

"I understand with all the issues facing us today around mental health and addictions that our communities suffer through that this has caused hurt and pain for you and your young people, and for this I am truly sorry."

In the video, he said he took responsibility for his comments and directed his apology primarily at the youth for overshadowing their hard work with his offensive misnaming, Beardy's & Okemasis' Cree Nation leadership and the FSIN executive. He said his comments don't represent the federation's values.

On Sunday, the FSIN announced it had fired O'Soup and said that the comments were not the only reason it let go of its former sports director, claiming it received an unrelated report of "inappropriate harassment" as well.

"We are taking immediate action and the matter will be robustly investigated," Heather Bear, FSIN vice-chief, said in the Federation's statement posted to Twitter. "The betrayal of the people we serve is reprehensible."

The statement did not say when it received the report of harassment.

In an emailed response, the FSIN declined to comment further on the matter.

A prepared statement from O'Soup and his wife, Jacinda O'Soup, addressed the harassment allegation in an email, saying that "at no time was my husband informed of any such allegation formally or informally."

"Due to the lack of professional redress on this alleged harassment accusation from the FSIN we will refuse to comment any further until we have obtained legal counsel."

The O'Soups are also asking for privacy for their family at this time.

In 2019, O'Soup resigned from his position as the province's advocate for children and youth amid harassment complaints and a vote by Saskatchewan MLAs to suspend him for "misconduct."

At the time, O'Soup had said in a written statement that the harassment complaint involved one other person in the advocate's office and was not physical but "primarily consisted of inappropriate electronic communication."

He wrote an apology and said he was ashamed of his actions.

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